Sunday, February 18, 2007


Have you ever had a stripper recommend a book? I would guess that you haven’t, yet it’s a little known fact that many exotic dancers are extremely well read. We have many long hours between performances that we have to fill with something and reading is about as practical as anything and rarely require clothes.

This week I’ve just started to read Norman Mailer’s latest novel, Castle in the Forest. It examines the early life of Adolf Hitler and so far has lived up to all my expectations. I ignore all critics when a book’s by Mailer. He’s written two of my favourites and it remains a constant regret that he never wrote the definitive stripping novel.

I always thing that The Fight showed how it might be done as it always reminds me why boxing is more than the sleazy sport they show on ITV on a Saturday night. If he wanted to go the epic length – and who wouldn’t want an epic guide to the history of erotic jiggling – Harlot’s Ghost would be the way I’d like him to go. It immersed me in history in a way that I’ve never been able to find elsewhere. James Ellroy’s American Tabloid and Don Winslow’s Power of the Dog have come about the closest and I finished both of them fairly recently. Ellroy’s at his best when exploring the paranoia of the Kennedy era and Winslow has written a fine account of twenty years of drug policy in South America. Yet neither writers have that magic that I find with Mailer. He just writes in a way that puts wings under my breath and carries me along until my body fails before my mind. I don’t know any writer who can write so large and yet be perfectly readable line by line.

I tell you all this because I took it along to the club last night. I was sitting in the back reading it between sets when one of the backstage crew came in and began to laugh at me. It’s never much of a surprise that people assume that because I take my clothes off for a living that I’m somehow less cultured than they are. And it gives me no small delight when they discover that I’m different to what they expect.

Last night I also read that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, has admitted to an affair he had with a barrister. He too, it would seem, likes to surprise people by being different to what they expect. It’s somehow gratifying to know that the most influential legal minds in the land sometimes thinks with his trousers but have you noticed how few people are willing to laugh in his face?

The discrepancy seems unfair. Especially when you consider that the Attorney General has never once recommended a book to you.

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